Title: Rock Climbing, from the series Dust in the Wind
Handmade paper, ink and gold leaf
Dimensions: 55 1/8 × 18 1/8 inches (140 × 46 cm)
Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund
Yao Jui-chung is a painter as well as a performance and video artist. During a 2007 residency at the Glenfiddich Artist Village in Scotland, Yao began to reexamine traditional Chinese painting in his works:
Because the nights were so peaceful, I often painted until the sun came up. At the same time, the fresh air also helped clear my head so I had a lot of time to just relax and listen to my own inner voice. I used simple brush strokes to depict the details of my life [in Taiwan] over the last two years: hot springs, brand name tea, mountain climbing, appreciating flowers, playing chess, listening to the waves—all of the things I like doing and the way they make me feel. In producing these works I referred to several distortionist painters from the late Ming dynasty that I hold in particularly high esteem and the structure of traditional Chinese landscapes through the ages, combined with my experience of life in that place at that time. The characters in these paintings are largely a combination of cynics and devils, an allusion to the fact that faced with the chaotic social environment in Taiwan today, anything that can be imagined—a made-up story about a literati of yore banished to the edges of the known world, rough Indian handmade paper combined with silkworm strokes, Scottish thistle patterns and blank spaces filled with gold leaf, all ultimately depict my own yearning for a secluded place in nature. (“Highlights from the Collection: 45 Years at the Johnson," curated by Stephanie Wiles and presented at the Johnson Museum January 27–July 22, 2018)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.